7 Ways to Improve Your Verbal and Written Communication Skills

We all know how crucial communication is when it comes to getting ahead in life, whether we’re at school, work, or in our personal relationships. However, few of us are aware of the different types of communication skills – both verbal and written – that will make a real difference to how well we express ourselves. 

Verbal communication is an exchange of information between individuals through spoken language, while written communication involves exchanging information through the use of written words. Being able to effectively communicate – both verbally and in writing – is a key skill that can help you to achieve success in almost any area of your life.

In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the basics for both verbal and written communication, what each entails and some tips on improving your own communication techniques. So read on—you may be surprised at just how quickly you can become an expert communicator!

Differences Between Verbal and Written Communication

Verbal and written communication differ in many ways. Verbal communication is a form of direct, face-to-face communication that uses spoken words to share ideas and messages. Written communication takes place when an individual communicates with others through writing. This includes emails, text messages, letters, and other written documents.

Timing

One major difference between verbal and written communication is that verbal communication occurs in real time, while written communication does not. Verbal communication can take place over the phone, through video chat applications such as Skype, or face-to-face. This allows for immediate feedback and clarification if necessary. Written communication takes place with a delay – once the message has been sent, it usually takes longer for a response to arrive than it does when talking.

Formal vs Informal

Another difference between verbal and written communication is their respective levels of formality. Verbal conversations tend to be more casual, informal, and less structured than written conversations are. Written conversations tend to involve more formal language, punctuation, and structure. This can help ensure that messages are communicated clearly and accurately and that everybody involved understands the conversation thoroughly. 

Levels of Visibility / Permanence

A third key difference between verbal and written communication lies in their respective levels of visibility or permanence. Verbal conversations are not visible to anyone else but those who were involved in the conversation; they cannot be easily stored or retrieved later on unless they have been recorded in some way (e.g., recorded audio). On the other hand, written conversations may be easily stored and retrieved at any time afterwards by all participants who were part of them; this makes them much more “visible” than verbal conversations ever could be. 

Convey Your Meaning

Finally, there is also a huge difference in terms of richness when comparing verbal versus written communications: while verbal conversations require nuance, as far as intonation and body/facial expressions go (in order to understand nuances such as emotions), written communications require higher semantic richness so that everyone else reading them can easily understand their intended meanings without having to guess what was meant or rely on someone else’s interpretation of them.

5 Effective Verbal Skills

Verbal communication skills are essential in a wide range of everyday situations. To communicate effectively, one must possess five key verbal skills: active listening, clear speaking, problem solving, empathy, and recognising non-verbal cues. Read on as we delve deeper into each essential skill:

1. Active Listening

Being an effective listener is a key skill for successful verbal communication. This involves taking the time to truly comprehend what someone is saying, asking follow-up questions, and providing feedback to ensure understanding.

2. Concise and Clear Speaking

Clear speaking requires being able to effectively organize thoughts and get them across in a concise manner. This means avoiding using superfluous words, using appropriate language that all parties can understand, and speaking in a direct yet respectful manner.

3. Problem Solving

Problem solving skills are essential when it comes to verbal communication, particularly during conflicts or disagreements between two parties. It involves considering different viewpoints, finding common ground, formulating solutions and coming to an agreement through open dialogue with respect for all involved parties.

4. Empathy

The ability to communicate empathetically is essential to successful verbal communication; it involves putting oneself in another person’s shoes and understanding their perspective before responding appropriately. It also allows us to connect better with others as we relate better due to our understanding of their perspective, allowing us to have more meaningful conversations that are rooted in mutual respect and appreciation for one another’s perspectives. 

5. Nonverbal Cues

Nonverbal cues such as body language, facial expressions, eye contact, tone of voice, etc., are important components of effective verbal communication as they help convey the speaker’s message more effectively by adding meaning or emphasis to the words being spoken. It is important for both parties involved in a conversation to pay attention to nonverbal cues so that all messages sent from either side are fully comprehended by the listener(s).

5 Effective Written Skills

Writing is an essential skill for success in many areas of life, and having strong writing skills can be the foundation for a successful career. To ensure your writing is of the highest quality, it’s important to develop five effective writing skills: revising and editing, vocabulary development, cohesive writing, structuring content and critical thinking. We have explored these skills further below: 

1. Revising and Editing

This fundamental skill involves understanding the purpose for writing, self-critiquing work for grammatical accuracy, sentence structure and clarity of content. Having an in-depth understanding of grammar rules is essential for communicating effectively with other people in writing. Knowing how to properly construct sentences, use punctuation correctly, and recognize common grammar errors will help you create concise written works with fewer mistakes and more clarity for your reader’s benefit. 

2. Vocabulary Development

Enriching one’s vocabulary is key to improving written communication skills. This involves reading extensively and expanding one’s knowledge of new words, their meanings and usage within a sentence.

3. Cohesive Writing

Arranging words, phrases and sentences in a logical manner helps to express complex ideas clearly and concisely. Connecting ideas by using cohesive devices such as transition words helps to create an effective flow in the piece of writing.

4. Structuring Content

Writing a well-structured piece requires planning out the main points that need to be discussed, grouping related information together and keeping the focus on the topic at hand.

5. Critical Thinking

Being able to analyze text critically enables writers to create more meaningful content by providing facts rather than assumptions or opinions. It also encourages writers to think deeper about topics in order to explore alternative perspectives which can help lead to greater semantic richness in their written work.

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How to Improve Your Verbal and Written Communication Skills

Improving upon your verbal and written communication skills involves utilizing language in a way that is more descriptive, expressive, and meaningful. To achieve this, one should strive to incorporate more facts and details into the message being communicated. With practice, dedication and the right guidance, improving both verbal and written communication abilities can be achieved. Luckily, we have come up with some handy tips below:

  • Listen to what others are saying and ask questions to clarify any parts that may be unclear. 
  • When speaking, use descriptive language and specific examples or anecdotes to illustrate your points.
  • Increase the precision and specificity of your vocabulary by expanding the range of words you use and familiarizing yourself with their definitions. 
  • Read extensively from multiple sources and genres in order to increase your understanding of language structures and styles. 
  • Practice summarizing different kinds of texts and organizing them into a coherent structure with clear arguments. 
  • Write drafts before submitting documents or delivering presentations in order to refine your ideas, catch any errors, and ensure clarity throughout the entire piece of writing/presentation.
  • Seek feedback from peers or mentors on how to improve upon your communication skills in terms of grammar, clarity, argumentation, etc., and take their advice into consideration when making changes to your work.

FAQs

Why are verbal and written communications skills important?

Verbal and written communication skills are critical for success in both personal and professional life. As we communicate with others, it’s important to be able to articulate our thoughts, ideas, and feelings in a manner that conveys what we mean accurately and effectively. 

Is verbal and written communication a hard or soft skill?

Verbal and written communication are both considered to be soft skills. Soft skills refer to the personal characteristics, attitudes, and abilities that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. 

Conclusion

Ultimately, verbal and written communication skills are essential tools for personal and professional success. Practicing active listening, using clear language, and managing your body language can help you hone in on effective verbal communication skills. Meanwhile, writing concisely and coherently with attention to detail, structuring and formatting documents correctly, and proofreading your work before submitting it can help you improve your written communication. Make sure to practice these tips and tricks as often as possible so that you can communicate effectively in any way you choose!

Emidio Amadebai

An avid seeker of knowledge, and passionate about sharing the lessons he picks up in life. Emidio is passionate about public speaking, teaching, and helping others develop critical soft skills, such as communication, leadership, and other interpersonal skills which are in high demand in today's rapidly evolving market.

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